Author Beware: Unsecured Narcotics

I was happily reading along one of my favorite best-selling authors when I stumbled upon a troubling set-up. Now, this author makes a lot of money which is why I’m not sure the reason for his not picking up the phone to consult me on his manuscript.

One character had been beaten up fairly well. He was in the hospital on a Valium drip. Huh? That’s right, just a bag of Valium hanging and dripping into his veins.

Issue One: Valium is not a pain medication per se. It is a muscle relaxant which can relieve pain from a muscle spasm. However, if you have had the snot beat out of you, let me introduce you to my friends the opiates: Morphine, Fentanyl, etc. These are likely what we would give first for pain.

Issue Two: Valium is not given in a bag as a drip. In fact, I can think of few instances where Valium would be given as a continuous medication. Some shorter acting friends of Valium are– but you generally have to be in the ICU on a ventilator to get some. This character was not.

Issue Three: Narcotics need to be secure. If a patient needs a continuous amount– this is what PCA (patient-controlled analgesia) pumps were made for. They are locked IV pumps so that no one can steal the drug from the bag and so that the patient cannot manipulate how much they receive.

Pediatric ICU’s do run a lot of continuous drips that are not locked. In these instances, usually a calculation is made at the end of a shift to look at the amount remaining. If the syringe is off by more or less one millimeter– then generally an incident report is filled out.

So bestselling, multi-million dollar author— really, just call me up. I’d be happy to help.

Have you read a scene with inappropriate use of narcotics?

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